Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Book Reviews - Wonderful Stories

Back with another round, and I'll say simply that these were just really, really good books!

The Guest List by Lucy Foley was such a phenomenal thriller. I love a thriller where I don't see the twists coming because the build and suspense is so well done. This story focuses on a wedding on an island. At the beginning, you know someone has died, but you don't who it was, why, and who might be responsible. Through the stories of the wedding planner, the bride, the best man, the maid of honor, and a plus one, the story starts to unfold. I love a thriller that builds through multiple narrators, and y'all, this did that exceptionally well. It focused on what was happening on the island as the body was discovered, and it wove a story of what happened before as the intersections between characters started to come together. Y'all, I really just want to say over and over again that this was such a wonderful twisty pageturner of a thriller! 

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg was just a delight of a read. I have never seen the movie adaptation (and actually don't know that I've ever known what it was about), so I was literally walking into this book from 1987 as if it was a new release! Fannie Flagg has a gift for writing incredible stories about people and towns. This was my second book of hers, and I am so captivated by the way she writes the details of all of her characters and how she can make these small towns come alive. If you're also just finding this book for the first time, you should know about two women who connect at a nursing home. When visiting, Evelyn becomes connected to Mrs. Threadgoode. Over the course of her visits, Evelyn learns all about her life and the residents of Whistle Stop, Alabama. The stories are so wonderfully told, and I just loved this one.

Broken by Jenny Lawson was fantastic and wonderful and all the things I expect and love about reading this author's work. I love how her books are so honest about mental health. I love how this made me laugh out loud (which very few books actually do) and also cry actual tears. I don't know how to even write a review other than to rave about it with as many different adjectives as possible to tell you this was real and amazing and hilarious and emotional. I am so, so, so glad Jenny Lawson puts these books and her stories out into the universe.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett was a book that I've been meaning to read forever, and I finally did as it's the selection for one of my book clubs. This was an interesting tale of the relationship between a brother and sister throughout their lives. This includes tragedy and challenge mostly at the hands of their stepmother and how they choose to take this on through the decades. The characters and decisions they make were so intriguing, and the dynamics are definitely what kept me reading. 

Onto the next ones!

Book Reviews - Intentional Reads

And we're back y'all. I chose each of these books for a very intentional reason - None of those are related of course, and each of these reads gave me something different and awesome.

Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary was a book I picked up to celebrate the life of Beverly Cleary. While I remember the plots and characters of many of her books really well, I couldn't recall this one even though I clearly recall once owning it (and the cover of that edition even!) This one was just a gem of a throwback. The story focuses on Maggie who is supposed to be learning cursive. She doesn't want to and just doesn't see the point. As the story progresses, Maggie realizes there are reasons she might need to have this skill, and her resistance starts to crumble. This is also thanks to some clever work by her teacher. Beverly Clearly reads are always a delight, and this one was fun to read as an adult - Definitely not as timeless as others given the topic, but a joy nonetheless.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig was just another beautiful, wonderful read by an author I have grown to absolutely adore over the last year. This story focuses on Tom, a fortysomething history teacher. Except, here's the thing, he's actually centuries old. He has a unique condition which means he ages at an incredibly slow rate. This means he's loved and lost and loved and lost again over and over across his lifetime. This is the story of Tom navigating his condition. This means he has to navigate the connections he finds along the way, if he reveals his truth, and honestly how he literally lives each day. I absolutely love the way this author explores questions around life and love and the choices we make along the way. I felt so many feels as I read this one, and I just adored the work of Matt Haig yet again.

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller was a solid page-turning gem of a thriller that I just loved. I love a thriller where I just cannot read fast enough because I need to know what happened, and this was so very much that. This is the story of three women in an upscale neighborhood: There's Brooke, the new neighbor who is an author married to a billionaire and 20 years her senior, Erin, a local news anchor, who walks out on her job as a way to jumpstart her career and prove her worth, and Georgia, who is known around town as the Black Widow after her two previous husbands died in what seem to be mysterious circumstances to some. And then, AND THEN, Georgia's third husband dies. Everyone seems to be holding onto secrets, and everyone also seems determined to find out what everyone else is hiding - while also pretending to be besties, of course. The thrills within this one were just so, so good y'all, so I don't want to give you too much plot because the ride from beginning to end is so great! Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this October 2021 (I'm so bummed y'all have to wait so long to read this) release!

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris is a book I honestly want to read again. I recognize that's always an odd way to begin a review, AND I think it speaks to what kind of book this is. Nella is the only black woman working at a book publishing company. In so many ways, it's exhausting. And then, another black woman, Hazel, starts. Nella is excited to have someone to connect with, but she struggles when Hazel starts getting opportunities that should be Nella's. Things become even more complicated when Nella begins receiving threatening notes on her desk. She isn't sure who she should trust or what she should do and becomes very suspicious of everyone's motives. The reason I want to re-read this one is that the ways the workplace starts turning on Nella are a slow creep. Reading again, I think I might see that slow burn, but I also enjoyed this the first time through. This was a really unique spin on a thriller. The way it builds and the way the twists evolve were so smartly done. Thanks to Atria books for the advanced copy of this June 2021 release!

Onto the next ones!